The live performance song of the day for Wednesday, June 12, 2013 is “St. James Infirmary Blues.”
About This Song
This song is said to be an American folk song without known origins. It seems to have been based on an 18th century English folk song called “The Unfortunate Rake” or “The Unfortunate Lad” or “The Young Man Cut Down In His Prime.” While the English version bemoaned the fate of the young man who spent his money on prostitutes and dies of a venereal disease, the American version is concerned with the ravages of gambling and alcohol.
One of the first and most significant recordings is by Louis Armstrong in 1928.
About This Version
Today’s version of “St. James Infirmary Blues” is the first recording made by Tony Bennett, with the Army Band in Germany just after World War II ended. While the recording quality may not be optimal, it is very exciting to hear the barely 20 year old Bennett sing this song.
“St. James Infirmary Blues,” as well as all of the songs on Rarities, Outtakes & Other Delights, Volume 1, is available from iTunes.
We’re happy to also present a digitally remastered version from Louis Armstrong: